Plant Quarantine Training Essential to Promote Safe Trade Within West Africa

A collaborative effort between the University of Missouri Assistance Program (NMAP), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the National Plant Protection Organization/International Plant Protection Convention (NPPO/IPPC) of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) and the United Stated Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS) has organized a training for inspectors of the Nigeria Plant Quarantine Department on the modalities of their operations, with a focus on best practices for plant quarantine. The training took place in Ibadan, Oyo State at the NAQS Training center.

The training was conducted with the view of helping West African countries reach international standards in plant quarantine systems and promote safe trade. The agenda for the training included discussions on inspection procedures at import and export, demonstrations of Phytosanitary inspection (control of plant diseases), including pest detection and identification in the laboratories.

Plant Quarantine is used to regulate and control import and export of plant and plant products through quality assessment and certification in line with international standards and best practices, and for Nigeria, these standards are set by the IPPC and WTO/SPS agreement (World Trade Organization/Sanitary and phytosanitary measures). The department performs duties such as issuance of permits for plant products, soil and bio-control agents and other regulated articles such as wood packaging materials. Others include certification of commercial seeds, plant and plant products for exports by issuing phytosanitary certification. In addition, the plant quarantine department also inspects plants while in the field, in warehouses and storage facilities prior to certification.

Consultant to USDA, Dr C.S. Fall, said that the harmonization of phytosanitary inspection processes and procedures would help ready the West African region to join the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), as well as promote safe trade of agricultural products within the region.

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